We all know the dangers of texting and driving. It puts everyone on the road at risk, including yourself, and causes approximately 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries a year. But injuries stemming from the distraction of text messaging are not confined to roadways. Silly as it sounds, texting while walking can be dangerous too.
Just ask Bonnie Miller. Last week, the Benton Harbor, Michigan resident fell into a frigid river while walking on a pier trying to send a text message. According to ABC57 News, Miller was taking an evening stroll over the St. Joseph river with her husband and son when she began to type out a text message. The group had passed the point of the pier where the railings end and after typing out the first three words of the message, Miller found herself submerged in six feet of cold water fighting to stay afloat.
Her husband Greg jumped in after her along with a 19-year old bystander. Firefighters, police and Coast Guard personnel arrived minutes later and used a flotation device to guide the three to a nearby ladder to climb to safety. Fortunately, all three escaped unharmed. And while she was plenty embarrassed, Miller decided to make her folly public to create awareness that texting and walking can have serious consequences.
“I couldn’t let pride stand in my way of warning other people to not drive and text or walk and text,” Miller said. “It can be dangerous.”
Miller is not alone in experiencing public humiliation from texting and walking. Cathy Cruz Marrero became a YouTube sensation in 2011 after a mall’s security camera caught her tripping and falling into a fountain while face deep in a text message. Earlier this year, a Canadian news station caught a woman falling down a section of stairs while distracted by text messaging in the background of a live broadcast. While many have shared a laugh at their expense, both falls are quite vicious and the two women are lucky to walk away unscathed from the accidents.
Given the proliferation of text messaging and smart phones with social media capability, injuries caused by texting and walking or Facebooking/Tweeting and walking will likely continue to increase. These accidents can be prevented by following this easy, five step routine:
1. Stop walking
2. Find a spot that is out of the way of other walkers
3. Send the text message
4. Put your phone away
5. Keep walking
Groundbreaking stuff there, right? The best part is that everyone can do it! In all seriousness, taking these simple steps to avoid texting and walking may seem inconvenient and inefficient, but recent studies suggest they will help you reach your location faster than by texting while walking.
Aside from causing potential injury and embarrassment, texting and walking also leads to more time and distance walking. According to a Stony Brook University study conducted earlier this year, participants who were texting veered from walking in a straight line, demonstrating a 61 percent lateral deviation. This deviation led to a 33 percent increase in trip duration and 13 percent increase in distance traveled from those who were walking without any distractions.
So next time you’re in a hurry and decide to fire off a text message, think twice and save yourself from potential injury and embarrassment. It might just save you some time to send the text when you reach your destination. Plus, if you’re communicating something via text message, it’s probably not a message that would justify becoming the next YouTube sensation for a texting and walking spill.
If you or a loved one has been severely injured from a catastrophic accident, please contact our office immediately for a free consultation. You can also learn more about GoldenbergLaw, PLLC by visiting our website.
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